Gimme Shelters

If Dave Antrim has his way, waiting for a bus will no longer be a lonely, drab experience.

With the help of hardware developed by his company, Antex Electronics of Gardena, Calif., bus-stop shelters may soon have video monitors continuously airing commercials.

“We should have it up and running in a few major cities in the next six months,” says Antrim, the company’s director of sales. “The ads can be specific to the location, like a nearby store, or they could be national commercials. We can handle both.”

He noted that advances in technology, including monitors ready to take on even the most determined vandal, have made this breakthrough possible. The programming can be delivered via high-speed phone lines, a satellite feed or a DVD player built into the shelter.

Antrim expects there will be naysayers who complain that the ads are invasive and annoying, since the audience can’t switch them off. Still, he predicts it will be the advertisers who boldly lead the charge.

“There’s no such thing as bad press with something like this,” he said. “If there are news reports that say this invades people’s privacy, there will be advertisers who read those stories and say, ‘Hey, I’d love to invade their privacy with my ad.’ “